Memoir Day 16: Characterization Practice

Today we continued to talk about characterization with a focus on indirect characterization.

1.     Students free read for first ten minutes.

2.     We looked at Diane Arbus’s Identical Twin photograph and students wrote a physical description of one twin in their writer’s notebooks. They shared their descriptions with classmates, trying to get each other to figure out which twin they wrote about.

3.     Then we went over how we can use physical description to describe the personality of a character. We used this note sheet (insert hyperlink) to talk about how dialogue, action, and description can hint at the personality of a character.

4.     Afterwards, students worked in partners to identify uses of indirect characterization through excerpts taken from Lost Illusions by Honore de Balzac, “Georgy Porgy” by Roald Dahl, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin.

5.     At the end of class, we went back to the Diane Arbus photograph and pretended like the twin on the left just killed her sister’s puppy and the twin on the right was a typical spoiled, parents’ favorite. With this knowledge, the students edited their first description of the twin of their choosing and used new descriptive words to hint at the twin’s personality.


Diane Arbus photograph, Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967

Honors HW: Write 2 comments on memoir blog by tomorrow, 9/23.